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By Katie Austin

One of the most exciting and nerve-wracking experiences is when a woman finds out she will soon be a mother. Will the child be a boy or a girl? What will we call him, or her? What happens from here on out? Such were the thoughts running through the minds of Doug and Mary Lou Johnsons in 1996. They were elated when they found out that they were having a baby boy that coming October. The pregnancy seemed to be going smoothly until Mary Lou noticed she was spotting and wasn’t feeling well.

When she went to the hospital the doctor informed the Johnsons that their baby was about to be born at 23 and a half weeks. The doctor educated the couple about the many medical problems and handicaps that their child would have, such as cerebral palsy, mental retardation, strained eyesight, lung and heart complications. He recommended that once the child was delivered, he be allowed to peacefully pass away in the hospital. 

Doug and Mary Lou knew transferred to a hospital that would try to give their child more time to develop. The neonatal team did their best to stop Mary Lou’s contractions, but 24 hours later Alec Johnson was born weighing 1 pound 5 ounces and measuring12 inches longs. He had many typical complications and underwent multiple grueling surgeries. After months of being in the NICU, Alec was allowed to go home on October 11 – almost his original due date. Alec had beat the odds.

In nineteen US states, abortion is legal up to the point of fetal viability, which is usually 24-28 weeks. These states allow the abortion of babies as far along as Alec was. Using what is known as the dilation and evacuation method, doctors stop the baby’s heart and, while crushing and dismembering the child, extract its body from the mother’s uterus. Abortions that are performed after 20 weeks are rare, but it is heartbreaking that they even exist.

Alec and babies like him deserve a chance at life. Alec is one of the lucky ones. He was wanted. But less fortunate babies at the same developmental stage as Alec was when he was born are allowed to have their lives ended. It’s time our society owns up to the devastating cost of elective abortion – human lives – and stops this inhuman practice.

Katie Austin is a student at Brigham Young University – Idaho.

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